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Polaris Week of 2/15/2021

I’m Ellen, your newsletter writer, here to provide you with a weekly line to The North Star and the news. Here, we’ll break down big events worldwide and keep you updated on what’s going on right here in Naperville.

First up, Trump's second impeachment trial comes to an end.

Acquit: Not guilty of the alleged charges.

On Saturday, the United States Senate voted to acquit former President Trump in his second impeachment trial. Here's what you need to know:

  • The final vote was 57-43, falling short of the two thirds majority (67) necessary for conviction. 50 Democrats and seven Republicans, including Senator Mitt Romney of Utah who was the only Republican to vote for Trump's conviction in his first trial, made up the bipartisan effort to convict Trump.
  • Despite voting to acquit the former President, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky delivered a speech condemning Trump and his actions. ¨“There is no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said. McConnell and several other Republicans took up the stance that it was unconstitutional to try a president who no longer holds office.
  • President Joe Biden remarked on the trial, saying, ¨The substance of the charge is not in dispute.¨ The president also commented on the importance of defending truth and democracy in a statement this Saturday.

Next, coronavirus updates.

In the U.S:

  • The winter storm affecting much of the country this week has impacted vaccine distribution, mostly in the South. The snow canceled and postponed flights, and caused clinic closures, putting even more states behind the national average for vaccinations.
  • In more positive news, the U.S. has administered about 75% of all vaccine doses currently distributed. About 39 million people have received at least one dose and about 15 million have been fully vaccinated.

And in world coronavirus news:

  • In Tanzania, there is no plan for vaccination and little testing as the government regularly denies that there are cases in the country. However, global experts are skeptical.
  • The U.K. variant of the virus may be more lethal than the original virus, experts say. The variant is linked to increased risks of hospitalization and death. It has spread to 82 countries, and is being transmitted 35-45% more easily than other variants present in the U.S.

Finally, American Girl's legal troubles.

A false endorsement is when a company uses any words, names or other symbols to convey an endorsement of a product when the person has not made that endorsement.

  • Mattel, which owns the American Girl doll franchise, is being sued by astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz, who claims American Girl stole their likeness to design its “Doll of the Year 2018,” Luciana Vega who aspires to be an astronaut and the first person on Mars.
  • Lucianne Walkowicz is suing Mattel in U.S. District Court in Madison, Wisconsin under the false endorsement clause of Federal Trademark law and is seeking a Cease-and-Desist order to stop all sales of the Luciana Vega doll and accessories, and receive additional monetary damages from Mattel.
  • Walkowicz alleges that the doll implies that Walkowicz has endorsed American Girl and the doll. This false endorsement could create consumer confusion and interference with Walkowicz’s professional public persona.
  • Walkowicz, a TED senior fellow with the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, has spoken at length about Mars exploration and has researched for much of their career with the Kepler mission about the Lyra constellation. The brightest star of the Lyra constellation is Vega, which Walkowicz has often discussed.
  • Lucianne Walkowicz, the astronomer, has a stripe of purple in their dark hair and often sports silver hologram boots and a blue cosmic pattern dress. They have talked about the ethics of human exploration on Mars and they have worn the purple streak in their hair since 2008.
  • Luciana Vega, the doll, has “straight brown hair that has a bright purple streak near her ear,” “a [pink] cosmic print dress,” and “a pair of lace-up holographic boots.” She is interested in exploring Mars. The doll and an accompanying book currently retail for $110 off of the American Girl website.
  • U.S. Judge James Peterson has dismissed a charge filed against Mattel to cancel their trademark on the Luciana doll and merchandise. He has also ruled that the case against Mattel for false endorsement violations of federal trademark laws could continue.
  • Interestingly, the American Girl website currently does not list Luciana™ or Luciana Vega™ among its trademarks, even though American Girl filed for them in November 2016.
  • Attorney Charles Mudd Jr., who represents Walkowicz, has said that discussions with Mattel have been unproductive.
  • Walkowicz said it was not flattering for Mattel and American Girl to monetize their work and identity for American Girl’s own purposes.

This week in Naperville North news....

After Huskie girls basketball's success last week, varsity boys basketball followed it Wednesday with their own victory against rival Naperville Central Redhawks.

In Polaris news, there won't be a newsletter next week due to parent-teacher conferences, but we'll be back the week of March 1 with more news.

This week's news was written by Zayna, Nora, Jeanine and Ellen

And after all that news...

There's no crossword this week, but it'll be back next newsletter.

Want to know more?

Check out the North Star website for more in-depth stories, and Heads Up Huskies on Instagram for your Naperville North updates.

Thank you for joining us here at Polaris, and I look forward to bringing you more news next newsletter.

- Ellen